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Ignatia. Saint Ignatius Bean. Strychnos ignatia.

Ignatia, N. F. IV (U. S. P. 1880). Saint Ignatius Bean. Ignatia Amara. Semen Ignatiae, Faba Ignatii, Faba Sancti Ignatii, Lat. Feve igasurique, Feve de Saint Ignace, Fr. Ignatius-bohne, Bittere Fiebernuss, Ignasbohnen, G. Fava di Santo Ignazio, It. Haba de Santo Ignazio, Sp.—"The dried ripe seeds of Strychnos Ignatii Bergius (Fam. Loganiaceae), yielding not less than 2 per cent. of the alkaloids of Ignatia." N. F. IV. Strychnos Ignatia Berg. (Ignatia amara L. f.) is a large climbing shrub, a native of the Philippine Islands, and introduced into Cochin-China where the seeds were highly esteemed as a medicine, and, having attracted the attention of the Jesuits, were honored with the name of their founder. Flückiger and Arthur Meyer have found that the seed has a close structural analogy to nux vomica. (P. J., 1881, 1.)

It is described by the N. F. as "heavy, hard, angularly ovate with obtuse angles, from 20 to 30 mm. in length and about 15 mm. in breadth and thickness; externally grayish or reddish-black, nearly smooth with few or no hairs; fracture granular and translucent in small fragments; a small irregular cavity in the center. Nearly inodorous and intensely bitter. The powder is grayish-brown and, when examined under the microscope, exhibits thin cells of the epidermis and the subjacent layer of the seed coat, polygonal cells with thickened, pitted walls; hairs characteristic, spreading and thickened at the base and having linear markings; endosperm tissue, the outer cells small, contents granular, the inner large, with thickened walls; lumen irregular in size and shape. Ignatia yields not more than 4 per cent. of ash." N. F.

Assay.—"Introduce 15 Gm. of Ignatia, in No. 40 powder, into a 250 mil flask and add 150 mils of a mixture of chloroform, 1 volume, and ether, 2 volumes. Stopper the flask, shake it well and allow it to stand ten minutes, then add 10 mils of ammonia water, shake the flask vigorously every ten minutes during two hours and allow it to stand for ten hours. Now add 25 mils of distilled water, again shake the flask well, and, when the drug has settled, decant 100 mils of the solution, representing 10 Gm. of Ignatia. Filter the solution through a pledge! of purified cotton into a separator, and rinse the graduate and cotton with a little ether. Completely extract the alkaloids from the solution by shaking out repeatedly with weak sulphuric acid. Collect the acid washings in a separator, add ammonia water until the solution is decidedly alkaline to litmus, and completely extract the alkaloids by shaking out repeatedly with chloroform. Evaporate the combined chloroform washings to dryness, dissolve the alkaloids from the residue in exactly 10 mils of tenth-normal sulphuric acid V.S., and titrate the excess of acid with fiftieth-normal potassium hydroxide V.S., using cochineal T.S. or methyl red T.S. as indicator. Each mil of tenth-normal sulphuric acid V.S. consumed corresponds to 36.4 milligrammes of the alkaloids of Ignatia." N. F.

To Pelletier and Caventou Ignatia beans yielded the same constituents as nux vomica, and, among them, 1.2 per cent. of strychnine and 0.5 per cent. of brucine. J. M. Caldwell found strychnine and brucine, combined with igasuric acid, a volatile principle, extractive, gum, resin, coloring matter, fixed oil, and bassorin, but no starch or albumen. (A. J. P., 1857, 298.) Fluckiger, on the other hand, found 1.78 per cent. of nitrogen, corresponding to about 10 per cent. of albuminoid matter. (Pharmacographia, 443.).

They have been used instead of nux vomica, in the preparation of that alkaloid, when their cost would permit of the substitution, but the nux vomica bean has been imported in such large quantities, and is now so low in price, that the ignatia bean is rarely used. The medicinal uses are those of nux vomica.

For process of making the abstract (Abstractum Ignatiae, U. S., 1880), see U. S. D., 19th ed., p. 1524. The dose of the abstract is from one-half to one and a half grains (0.032-0.096 Gm.). A tincture is recognized by the N. F. (see Part III).


The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.



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